Boris Johnson quizzed by Chris Bryant on Brexit and Hancock
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Brexit wrangling between the UK and EU could continue as the Government looks to set out its plans for post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland within the next two weeks. The grace period for goods moving into Northern Ireland was granted another extension of three months to avert a ban on chilled meats. After the extension was agreed, the UK Government said it would work “energetically” with the EU to find a permanent solution to the “sausage war”, as well as wider issues with the Northern Ireland protocol.
The protocol is designed to avoid a post-Brexit hard border on the island of Ireland and is a key part of the UK’s divorce deal with the EU.
The UK has accused the EU of being inflexible surrounding the protocol, while Brussels is furious because Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed up to it as part of the trade and withdrawal agreements.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told Euronews last month she wanted the British “just to do their job and implement what we have agreed upon”.
French President Emmanuel Macron taunted the UK Government warning Mr Johnson he signed up to the protocol.
He said: “Prime Minister Johnson… himself signed the agreement protocol that is applicable for Northern Ireland which lays out controls”.
The protocol was what broke the deadlock for a withdrawal agreement back in 2019, with Mr Johnson describing it at the time as an “excellent” deal.
He has been criticised for saying on a number of occasions there would be “no checks” on trade between Northern Ireland and Britain in either direction, contrary to the terms of the divorce deal he had just struck.
On Monday, thousands of pro-union demonstrators marched across Northern Ireland in the traditional ‘orange order marches’.
The event became a way for people to vent their frustrations at post-Brexit arrangements.
Marching pipe and drum bands filed through the streets of the British-ruled overseas region marking July 12, the anniversary of the 1690 Battle of the Boyne.
The battle saw the Protestant King William of Orange defeat the Catholic King James II and is celebrated yearly by predominantly Protestant pro-UK communities of Northern Ireland.
In Belfast, hundreds of musicians and members of the fraternal Protestant Orange Order marched in front of crowds of families waving Union Jack flags in celebrations pared back because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Amid the Brexit impasse, one marcher told AFP: “We as a people feel that we’re being marginalised in our own country.
“We feel completely isolated and the British government, Europe, the Irish Republic are all conspiring against us. So it creates this siege mentality which can be a very dangerous thing.”
However, another said: “Unionists are a bit confused, they’re a wee bit angry.
“They’re certainly angry with the protocol, with what they see as the deceit of the Government.”
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